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Church abuse coverage earns Pulitzer Prize

JOURNALISM: Boston Globe wins public service praise.

Associated Press
Published April 8, 2003

NEW YORK - The Boston Globe won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for public service Monday for "courageous, comprehensive coverage" of the priest sex abuse scandal that led to sweeping changes in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.

The Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post each won three of journalism's most prestigious awards.

The Globe's public service award was its 17th Pulitzer and third in that category. In awarding the prize, the Pulitzer board cited the paper's "courageous, comprehensive coverage of sexual abuse by priests, an effort that pierced secrecy, stirred local national and international reaction and produced changes in the Roman Catholic Church."

"You made history this past year. And you made the world a better and safer, and more humane place," Globe editor Martin Baron told a packed newsroom.

"Reporters and editors who worked on this story were motivated by a passion to get at the truth," he said. "They overcame every obstacle with patience, ingenuity and endless drive."

The paper broke ground by challenging the legal confidentiality of church documents, filing a motion to unseal material that would show how issues of child sex abuse had been dealt with. Instead of a few isolated cases, the paper found widespread abuse and an extensive coverup. The scandal spread to the rest of the country and led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law.

Florida's Pensacola News Journal was a finalist in the public service category for exposing a culture of government corruption that led to the indictment last year of four of the five Escambia County commissioners.

The prizes are awarded by Columbia University on recommendations of the Pulitzer board, which considers nominations from jurors in each category. Each prize is worth $7,500, except for public service, in which a paper receives a gold medal.

Journalism

PUBLIC SERVICE: Boston Globe.

BREAKING NEWS REPORTING: Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence, Mass. INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING: Clifford Levy, New York Times. EXPLANATORY REPORTING: Wall Street Journal. BEAT REPORTING: Diana Sugg, Baltimore Sun. NATIONAL REPORTING: Alan Miller and Kevin Sack, Los Angeles Times. INTERNATIONAL REPORTING: Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan, Washington Post. FEATURE WRITING: Sonia Nazario, Los Angeles Times. COMMENTARY: Colbert King, Washington Post. CRITICISM: Stephen Hunter, Washington Post. EDITORIAL WRITING: Cornelia Grumman, Chicago Tribune. EDITORIAL CARTOONING: David Horsey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer. BREAKING NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY: Rocky Mountain News of Denver. FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY: Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times.

FICTION: Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex.

DRAMA: Nilo Cruz, Anna In the Tropics. HISTORY: Rick Atkinson, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943. BIOGRAPHY: Robert Caro, Master of the Senate. POETRY: Paul Muldoon, Moy Sand and Gravel. GENERAL NONFICTION: Samantha Power, A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. MUSIC: John Adams, On the Transmigration of Souls.
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